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Interview With 'S. Peace Nistades'

Firstly, introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about the project and how it came to be?

My name is S. Peace Nistades. I'm a composer. I work mainly in film (and occasionally fashion) but also on my own solo music and artist collaborations. This project really is a culmination of these first ten years in Los Angeles. I moved here in 2007 from Thailand and as I approached my tenth year, it felt like the right time to revisit some of the pieces I'd written over the years but have never released and arrange them in a collection that I feel conveys, in a sense, my adventures in LA so far.

What were you up too prior to it, was this always the chosen path or did you have other dreams and aspirations?

I moved to LA to pursue film music. I'd grown up with three main loves: film, literature and music. It originally was the idea of being a director which first made me think of LA and while I was still back in Thailand, I'd worked as assistant director (and just extra helper in general) to some of my friends on their short films and since I was the only music-related person on the crew, they'd asked if I wanted to give a crack at scoring them. I did these scores in Garageband on a small Macbook with the stock sounds but it was enough to give me the sense that telling a story through music was something that really spoke to me (and still does) more than standalone music did at the time so I pursued that. I think writing your own work, whether it's your own music, a poem, a book, or painting your own painting, requires some amount of understanding (or an interest to understand) oneself. Over the years, through life experience, I've found out more about that and that's helped me a lot in my personal work. In the end we're all looking for who we are, who we want to be, and art (whether on the consuming end or the creative end) can be incredibly helpful in that.

Tell us about your latest album and why our readers should check it out.

I really view this album as a collection, like a photo album you look back at years later. The beautiful thing about music is that it's ephemeral. Though I have specific memories and emotions connected to each piece, you will experience them differently and hopefully it will connect to certain memories and events in your own past that I could never plan for or know about. That's the beauty of it, having this wordless conversation, this silent dialogue between me and you, and the currency of exchange here is emotion and memory.

Have you ever come face to face with someone within the music scene who has left you awestruck and why?

Every new and then. One in particular who has stuck with me is my friend Anders T. Røshol, who is a wonderful composer from Norway. We met years ago when he'd started (or was about to start) his studies at the Grieg Academy in Bergen and had an interest in exploring music in film. In fact, it was he who had reached out to me. Although we don't get to chat nearly as much as we'd like, I've followed his career and musical explorations over the years and his incredible commitment to discovering and finding how he perceives the world and what he has to say through the medium of music remains a constant inspiration. We've had lengthy chats about everything from architecture to Italo Calvino and though I do have friends here I have that kind of interaction with, I miss that in the overall sense. I think artists across mediums and art forms should share and connect more. I can't tell you how much the architecture of Peter Zumthor and his explorations of the marriage of stone and water in his Vals thermal baths has inspired me for example. If you're not familiar with his work, check it out, it's incredible.

If we were to head out to one of your live shows what can ourselves and others expect?

I haven't done a show since last year. I see my native environment as being the studio these days and but I'm working on an album with concert pianist Christopher McKiggan which will be a fresh take on what we've come to think of as a 'solo piano album' and that would be incredibly fun to take on the road. What I'd like to explore next in a live show setting would be having the intimacy of a chamber performance but without sticking necessarily to the accepted rigidity of a classical concert. What if we had a guitarist, a cellist, a singer and a pianist on stage together sitting in traditional semi-circle quartet style but performing music and creating sounds that is not what you'd expect from that? I think that would be very exciting.

If you had one artist/band that you could go on tour with tomorrow who would it be and why?

Probably Max Richter, Nils Frahm, or Francesco Tristano. I know, I've just cheated. They all have cultivated a sound that straddles different worlds (both Classical and Jazz colors as well as contemporary and electronic) and it's a world I think I very much inhabit, in my own way. It's also an approach of simultaneously having a conversation with the past while looking at the present (and possibly into the future) and exploring, reflecting upon, or discoursing with the various tensions and questions of identity we face today which I think are uniquely ours that draws me to this and their music. Which one I'd pick would probably depend on the mood I was in at that very moment. Right now it'd probably be Max Richter.

You can spend an hour with a musical icon living or dead, who would you pick, why and what would you speak about?

Herbert von Karajan. He's been one of my biggest musical inspirations for a long time. His dedication to finding and perfecting his own sound as a conductor was revolutionary combined with his love and constant interest and support of new and emerging recording technology. Now with 3D sound, Dolby Atmos and virtual reality, I'd love to see what he'd do if he were still alive, how his sound might change, how he'd approach recording and reaching a new audience as I'm sure he would. As for what we'd talk about, I'd mainly just love to listen. I'd love to hear about Salzburg, about his thoughts on art, literature, if his tastes in architecture and style had changed over the decades.

And finally and most importantly is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?

Haha, while Die Hard is indeed a fun film, I'm not sure if it'd be my Christmas movie. For me, Martin Scorsese's Silence was the perfect Christmas movie. It's so much more than a film about religion and missionaries.

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